Predictions for Saturday
First off, LB David Harris was limited in practice yesterday and expects to play. That is major news and hopefully for the Jets, he will be at full speed Saturday.
Now on to the big show…
For the Jets to win:
1. Run the ball. The theme the entire season doesn’t stop now. The Jets will need to establish the run, push around the Bengals defense and get those extra yards on second down to avoid any third and long situations.
2. Play the field. Ok, here’s the situation: 3rd and 8 from the Jets 30…. what to do? Draw play for 3 yards? fine. Play the field. With a top defense in a playoff game, in a 30 degree game, don’t be afraid to punt the ball and let your defense get you better field position. The Jets cannot turn the ball over and expect to win this game.
3. Stop Cedric Benson. With 1,251 yards this season, the Bengals are relying on Benson to make a difference. The Jets need to make it clear to Carson Palmer that he needs to throw the ball to win.
For the Bengals to win:
1. Andre Caldwell/J.P. Foschi Show. With Revis on Ochocinco (1,047 yards), Carson Palmer needs to look to other receivers. Accounting for 33 percent of the Bengals reception yards this season, Ochocinco will not be a major force on Saturday. Palmer needs to rely on the others. The next closest receivers in yards is Coles with 514 and then Caldwell with 432
2. Defense. If the Bengals can stop the Jets rushing game early, the Jets may look to pass more and more as the game progresses. With a rookie QB, turnovers will follow. Expect star nose tackle Domata Peko back to stuff the run.
3. 37-0 Thrashing? History. The Bengals need to forget about last weeks embarrassing loss. Yes, a majority of starters did not play; yes, the Bengals had nothing to play for (except the Texans over the Jets); but can the Bengals forget about the game? Time will tell.
The Jets rushing game is flying right now. Whether it’s Thomas Jones (1,402 yards) or Shonn Greene (540 yards), the Jets have the tools to push defenses around. A solid offensive line in a cold playoff game will be the key. Throw in a blitz happy defense and a restless crowd that has booed Carson Palmer all year and you have a recipe for a win.
Jets 27- Bengals 17